I’m pretty proud of myself for this one. I have loved crepes for many many years and used to subsist on them in medical school. This dessert would be perfect for Christmas dinner. It is chocolate crepes wedged between a simple white chocolate peppermint mousse. After it has chilled, the whole cake is doused in a glossy chocolate ganache and topped with powdered sugar. The dessert is sweet but not overly sweet.
Getting the technique down for making the crepes can take a bit of practice. The beauty is that if you need some freebies you can easily make another half batch of batter to get enough crepes for the cake. The first few crepes are rarely perfect. You need about 20 for the beautiful layering effect.
I’m not usually a big fan of nonstick pans, but they are essential for having good results for the crepes. I have a dedicated 9 inch crepe pan, however you could use any 9 inch non-stick pan with similar results. Tricks to making good crepes include making sure your pan is not too hot, medium to low medium heat should be plenty. The batter should be thin enough to easily coat the whole pan before the batter cooks –the excess can be poured off. If your batter is too thick, then add some extra milk. The video here is a good visual however I don’t think the butter to coat the pan is necessary and he doesn’t pour off excess batter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNIcZSt_I0E
Chocolate Crepe Cake with White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse
For the mousse
2 cups whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
10 oz white chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 oz candy canes
For the crepes
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp espresso powder
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
½ stick melted butter
pinch of salt
For the ganache
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
Extra powdered sugar for the top of the cake.
For the mousse. In a mortal and pestle or in a plastic bag with the back of a pan, pulverize the candy canes until it is a fine powder. A few slightly larger pieces of candy cane are ok. In an electric mixer, whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. In the microwave on high heat in a glass heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate (if it is a whole block, then chop up the chocolate) for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Again, cook the chocolate in the microwave, this time for 20 seconds. Stir. If your chocolate is not completely melted, cook for 10 seconds at a time until melted. Do not overcook as white chocolate can seize easily. Fold the white chocolate, peppermint, vanilla and candy canes into cream. Chill the mousse.
For the crepes—in a blender sift the cocoa and espresso. Add the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Add the flour and blend until well combined and there are no lumps. Add the melted butter and pulse for a few seconds. Strain the batter. Over medium heat with a nonstick pan, pour about 2 tbsp batter into your 9 inch non-stick pan. Swirl around the batter until it coats the entire pan and pour off any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook the crepe until small bubbles form and the edges begin to separate from the sides of the pan. Flip the crepe and cook for another 10-20 seconds. Place the crepes on a plate and continue until you run out of batter. When you are done, place the crepes in the fridge and chill.
To assemble the cake. Using a 9 inch springform pan with a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, stack the crepes and place a thin coat of mousse between each crepe. Continue until your run out of mousse. Chill. When ready to glaze with ganache, invert the cake onto a cake stand and remove the base of the springform pan. To make the ganache, mix the chocolate and cream in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, 20 seconds then 10 seconds as above, stirring between each until the chocolate is melted into the cream. Pour on the cake while it is still cold and spread around the sides to completely frost the cake. Clean off the excess.
I made a stencil for the snowflake using the template found here:
http://www.altogetherchristmas.com/crafts/stencils.html. I printed the stencil and then using an exacto knife cut out a replica on a piece of cardstock. Then sift powdered sugar over the stencil on the cake. To slice, run a very sharp knife under hot water and dry. Serve and enjoy!